In a bad place

I’m in a bad place at the moment. Some of the reasons why are minor and will shortly pass, others are not so minor.
Firstly, the minor reasons. For one, I’m sick. I’m running a fever and at times my head feels like a too small iron band has been forced down on it. For another, Eastern Johannesburg had a power failure and a lot of traffic lights were out. My drive home, which normally takes me 45 minutes at most, took me well in excess of an hour, and I had shopping to do. Finally, due to a misunderstanding on my part, I missed my company’s year-end function. Aaaargh! However, these are all minor. Illnesses clear, power failures get fixed and there’s always next year.
Right, now on to the major causes. Tomorrow, I turn 35 years old (yes, I’m aware it’s also Winston Churchill’s birthday). The reason I had to go shopping? I had to buy stuff for a party at work. I’m going to get contemplative. Just a warning, things may become very depressing or very boring from here.
I’m not as badly off as Marcel Proust (see the film “Little Miss Sunshine” for an explanation) but I wouldn’t exactly call myself a winner. I’m not nearly as far along in my career as I would like to be. In addition, my Love Life is nonexistent. On the plus side, I’m gainfully and quite securely employed, and I intend doing some self-study on a subject of interest to me.
This past year has been really unsettling. I’m rethinking a lot of things in my life and a lot of things have been upended. In the Dixie Chicks song “Not ready to make nice“, Natalie Maines sings “You turned my whole world around, and I kinda like it”. I’m not at the point where I like any of it. In fact, I’m stressed, unhappy and yes, unsettled.
The biggest worry I have is for my country. Politicians the world over dislike having the courts putting brakes on their power, but on the whole they don’t try to trump the judiciary. Yet in South Africa, there are alarming signs of a drive to undermine the supremacy of the Courts and Constitution.
Earlier this year, Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng was appointed as Chief Justice despite concerns over some of his rulings and the fact that Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke was more experienced and the logical choice. It is the President’s right to appoint whoever he wishes, but such a questionable choice is worrying.
Shortly after Mogoeng was chosen, ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe and President Jacob Zuma both made remarks criticising the Judiciary and specifically the Constitutional Court for overturning legislation and decisions passed by government. One of the remarks is that the courts should not set themselves up as the Opposition. This commentary showed an astonishing lack of understanding of the principles of Constitutional Rule. If a Government passes laws or takes actions that violate the Constitution, or fails to take action to protect Constitutional Rights, then the Constitutional Court is required to say “No” to the Legislature and/or Executive, and to demand that remedial actions are taken. Such remarks show an immense arrogance, a belief that “we are elected by the people and can do as we wish”, and an unwillingness to be beholden to the proper limits of their power.
Last week Tuesday, an unconstitutional Bill named the “Protection of State Information Bill” was rammed through Parliament in the face of near-universal opposition, which I covered in my last post. Two days later, Government Spokesman Jimmy Manyi announced that the decisions of the Constitutional Court would be “assessed” in line with transformation. Regardless of Manyi’s blandishments, this has the feel of an attempt to lean on the Court. The lack of a clear definition of transformation is to me a warning sign.
If you had asked me a year ago if I ever intended to emigrate, my reply would have been “I was born here, where would I go?” Today, an option that was once so far off the table it was out the room is now front and centre. Currently, I don’t intend to emigrate, but to me it is a shocker that I am even considering it.
Things may have changed in a year’s time. My self-study may lead to an improvement in my skills, I may get to like the changes, or the Government might just wise up. On the other hand, I could make a choice to emigrate. If I do, I’m thinking of a specific country.
Who knows what 2012 will bring?

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About autismjungle

I am a Software Test Analyst. Shortly before I turned 21 I was officially diagnosed, although I had long suspected I was autistic. Welcome to my blog
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